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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Feast of St. Charles Lwanga who with twelve companions suffered martyrdom in Uganda (1886). Memory of Blessed John XXIII.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 16, 20-23

'In all truth I tell you, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.

A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a human being has been born into the world.

So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.

When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions. In all truth I tell you, anything you ask from the Father he will grant in my name.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Friendship with the Lord is not something that can be taken for granted not only because of the world’s hostility, but also because it requires one’s own genuine rebirth, the kind about which Jesus spoke clearly to Nicodemus. This is why now Jesus compares faith—or the trustful relationship with Him—to birth, the fruit of a long and fatiguing pregnancy. Faith does not arise unprompted from someone who believes to be inspired and therefore predisposed to believing, nor is faith the spontaneous outcome of normal condition. This is the moment when we realize that we are not born Christians, rather we become Christian and with some effort. Just as during pregnancy—when the woman intimately participates in the gestation of a new life within her womb, but at the same time the baby’s development is not the fruit of her abilities or talents—so, too, the Word of God, if we accept it into our heart, grows and matures, giving birth to a new life not because we are particularly worthy or better, but because it acts potently in whoever welcomes it and allows it to work, even amid a thousand difficulties. There is no need, then, to surrender to the difficulties that we encounter in welcoming the Word. While at time it is so easy to let the Word remain far from us as something we consider already known or useless. The patient work in welcoming the Word will grant us a deeper interiority, that is, a capacity to taste the sweetness of every Word that comes from the Gospel, as well as the bitterness as it obliges us to change our thoughts and habits. This is the gift the Gospel talks about. Nobody can deny or take it away from us because it is the fruit born of listening faithfully, something each one of us can live out if we want to.

Memory of Jesus crucified